“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.” – John Baptiste Molière
Recently, one of my ballplayers showed up to practice in jeans. He didn’t have his baseball pants. When I asked why, he said it wasn’t his fault. His mom was washing them and they weren’t done yet. A couple days later, another kid didn’t have a permission slip to turn in. According to him, it wasn’t his fault because his parents didn’t sign it and give it back to him to turn in to me.
Granted, these are middle and high school-aged kids. They are prone to not thinking on occasion, and accountability is something that’s often a work in progress. However, part of my job is teaching more than baseball. In that sense, teaching responsibility and accountability (in conjunction with what’s hopefully being taught at home) is high on my list of lessons.
Yes, the kid who wore jeans to practice could have still practiced with jeans on (even though it would hurt my baseball soul to its very core), but that’s not the point. Yes, the kid who forgot his permission slip could have brought it to me the next day, but that’s also not the point. I believe in accountability, being able to hold those around you accountable, and promoting accountability to those I’m charged with leading.
The larger lesson for these kids is a sense of responsibility. I hold all kids on the team to the same standards, from the captains to the team managers, and everyone in between. If one of us adults forgot a report for work at home, we certainly wouldn’t have the ability to blame mom. We’d get ripped a new one or sent packing. So, coddling a lack of accountability in our young people is counterproductive.
In a team setting like ours, knowing that your teammate is going to uphold their end of the bargain is paramount. You have to be able to rely on people. Similarly, in every day life we have to be able to trust those closest to us, and they need to be able to trust us. That means we should learn and internalize a level of accountability in ourselves. We need to be vulnerable enough to trust that others will hold themselves accountable. We need to instill these things in our kids so that they’re second nature as they get older. That way, they won’t blame mom later on when or if they screw up.
Have an awesome Monday,